The rating scale is skewed.
ESPN considers farm systems and other things that cannot necessarily be accounted for with certainty. Each year the NHL has a trade deadline, and during the weeks leading up to the deadline (typically) there are all sorts of trades and roster moves made for contending teams to shore up their rosters for the playoffs, or teams that are out of contention to attempt to stockpile draft picks or young players and build for the future.
There’s no way the Columbus Blue Jackets have a better prognostication over the next three years than the Colorado Avalanche (The Jackets are ranked 9th in this list). They may have a better farm system, Adam Fantilli comes to mind, but what else can they offer that Colorado isn’t better at. Columbus has Johnny Ham and Cheese Gaudreau and he’s an excellent player, but the Avalanche have Nathan MacKinnon. The Avalanche have a reliable coaching situation as opposed to the Blue Jackets’ which is currently a dumpster fire, to put it nicely. The Avalanche roster as currently constructed is head and shoulders ahead of where the Blue Jackets are.
With all that said, is ESPN placing that much value on the current farm system of teams? A lot of young players currently in the minor leagues won’t even be in the NHL on a regular basis within three years. The Avalanche core players outclass the Blue Jackets core ten times out of ten.